Xbox Accessibility Guidelines - Version History

Version 2.5 (7/30/2021)

XAG 104: Subtitles and Captions Changes

  • The following clarifying sub-bullet has been added to the guideline “Identify the speaker, and use visual spatial indicators to indicate which direction the speaker's voice is coming from if it's not immediately clear”:

    • The speaker's name should be identified in the subtitle line each time a new speaker begins talking. Once the speaker's name is established, the speaker name does not have to re-appear on every subsequent subtitle line while the same speaker is talking. The name of the speaker only needs to appear again in the subtitle line when there is a change in speakers, or if a significant pause (greater than 1-2 minutes) has taken place during the same speaker's dialogue.

XAG 106: Screen Narration Changes

  • The following clarifying sub-bullets have been added to the guideline "Interactable UI elements that behave as lists, tabs, radio buttons, check lists, or combo boxes, must enumerate how many child items belong to that element, the type of input the element requires, as well as the current state or value of that input element. As an example, 'Worlds, Tab, 1 of 3, selected,' or 'Music Volume, slider, 52%.'”

    • Enumeration should occur at the end of a narrated string. For example, "Gama, slider, 38%, 6 of 9."

    • An option to disable enumeration narration can be provided for players who prefer simplified narration.

  • The following new implementation guideline has been added to this XAG:

    • "If narration for the current item in focus is actively being read and focus is moved to a different UI element before the narration string has been read in its entirety, the narration for the original UI element should immediately stop, and narration for the new UI element that focus was most recently moved to should begin."

XAG 107: Input Changes

  • The following new guidelines have been added to this XAG:

    • For games that support keyboard input, players should be able to access all controls needed to start the game, adjust settings, play the game, and exit from the game back to the platform's home screen using a keyboard alone.

    • An option to adjust sensitivity of analog controls individually should be provided at the game level. This includes the ability to adjust the sensitivity of analog thumb sticks, joysticks, triggers, racing wheels, and mouse movement as applicable.

      • Players should be able to increase or decrease sensitivity by at least 50% of the default sensitivity.

XAG 108: Game Difficulty Options Changes

  • The following new guideline has been added to this XAG:

    • Single player, local multiplayer, and local split-screen games should be pausable at any time (excluding saving/loading screens).

      • Both active game play as well as cinematics (intros, video cutscenes, scripted cutscenes) should be able to be paused at any time.

XAG 109: Objective Clarity

  • The following new guideline has been added to this XAG:

    • Gameplay tutorials that explain or demonstrate core game mechanics should be made available for players.

      • Tutorials should be interactive, such as having the player carry out the game mechanics and controls being taught in the tutorial in a simulated or real gameplay environment or be provided in the form of video demonstrating the mechanics and controls controls for players to passively watch.

      • Static screens that display game controls or controller mappings are not suffiencent and should be considered a tutorial.

      • Tutorials should be available on-demand for players to access at any point in the game. For example, a tutorial may be a level within the game, or its own separate experience from primary gameplay, but players should be able to re-visit the tutorial at any point in the game, regardless of whether the tutorial has previously been completed.

      • Players should be provided an option to enable subtitles for tutorials with voiceover, character narration, or dialogue.

XAG 117: Visual Distractions Changes

  • Minor edits have been made to the Goal, Overview, and Scoping Questions sections in this XAG.

  • The following new guidelines have been added to this XAG:

    • The game should not include any camera shake or camera bobbing effects, or an option should exist to turn off these behaviors.

    • The game should avoid any repetitive side-to-side or up-and-down on-screen movement, except that which is core to game play.

      • This includes behaviors such as "weapon sway."

XAG 121: Accessible Documentation Changes

  • The following clarifying sub-bullet has been added to the guideline "- All game-related accessibility features, functionality, user guides, and product support options should be described in accessible, easy-to-discover online product documentation" to this XAG.

    • Each game title should have its own designated web page for accessibility information to provide players with a simplistic and easy-to-consume experience. Using a single web page for accessibility information on multiple titles should be avoided.

Version 2.1 (4/19/2021)

XAG 104: Subtitles and Captions Changes

  • The following note was added to the implementation guideline that states: “Identify the speaker and use visual spatial indicators to indicate which direction the speaker’s voice is coming from if it’s not immediately clear”

    • NOTE: “In scenarios where the speaker is an unidentified “narrator,” and there are no other speakers, identifying “narrator:” in the subtitle or caption text is not required. ”   

XAG 106: Screen Narration Changes

  • The following guideline has received minor text edits and was moved from XAG 114 to XAG 106:

    • Prior XAG 114 Implementation Guideline: “Ensure that text alternatives such as narration or tool tips convey the purpose and operation of the UI components”

    • New wording following move to XAG 106: “Ensure that text alternatives for graphics convey the purpose and operation of the UI components.”

  • The following note text and corresponding example was added to the implementation guideline that states: “After navigating to the last item in the UI/menu structure the player should be taken back to the first item in the UI/menu structure and vice versa.”

    • NOTE: “This guideline only applies to linear menu structures where focus can be moved either up or down or left or right. Menu structures that allow focus to be moved to elements in any direction (such as a menu with focusable items arranged on a 4 &215; 4 tile) don’t need to loop.

      We encourage developers to have an option to enable and disable menu looping for all menus.”

XAG 107: Input Changes

  • The following implementation guideline has been added to this XAG:

    • “Avoid introducing mechanics where a player is required to press two buttons simultaneously to activate a function.”
  • Minor text edits and additions were made to the implementation guidelines below and now state the following:

    • If inputs that require repeated button strokes, prolonged button presses, or simultaneous button presses cannot be avoided, provide an alternative input option that is either less physically demanding or allow the player to bypass game events that require the use of using these mechanics, or that part of the game experience altogether.

    • Ensure that content can be operated without multipoint gestures or the functionality can also be operated by another method, such as a tap, click, double tap, double click, long press (less than 3 seconds), or click & hold. This includes both mouse/cursor movements, as well as touch-screen path-based gestures.

      • Multi-point gestures are interactions that require two or more points of contact with touch-screen input devices such as mobile phones or tablets. For example, using a “pinch to zoom” gesture or a two or three finger swipe.

XAG 108: Game Difficulty Options Changes

  • The following note and corresponding example has been added to the implementation guideline that states: “Include multiple levels of difficulty presets (ideally 4+ covering a wide range of values to ensure that players with a wide array of gaming experiences and ability levels can choose a difficulty mode that provides their desired level of challenge.”

    • “NOTE: Game “modes,” such as “creative mode,” aren’t considered a difficulty option if the creative mode doesn’t provide the same gameplay experiences, resources, and opportunities as the primary game mode.”

XAG 112: UI Navigation Changes

  • The following implementation guidelines have been added to XAG 112:

    • “From the game’s initial launch, ensure that all pathways to the accessibility features/settings menu UI are fully accessible.

      • This can be done by: Prompting players to configure accessibility settings as the first screen that appears when the game launches. After the player has defined them, any subsequent experiences only need to reflect the accessibility settings that the player made.

      • Meeting all XAGs by default when the game initially launches (for example, text display and contrast ratios meet minimum guidelines, narration and subtitles/captions are enabled by default, and visual distractions are disabled by default).

      • Meeting all XAGs by default when the game initially launches but using platform settings to disable certain items by default, based on the player’s current platform settings (if possible).

        • For example, a player has “Let Games Read to Me” disabled at the Xbox platform level. As a result, the game doesn’t need to launch with in-game narration enabled by default.

        • If the game is unable to read platform settings, narration should be enabled by default for all players.

  • The following implementation guidelines from XAG 106: Screen Narration have also been added to XAG 112 and will now appear in both XAGs:

    • “Support a focus order that is aligned with the meaning or operation of the UI. If that navigation sequence is independent of meaning or operation, then align the focus order with the flow of the visual design.

    • “After navigating to the last item in the UI/menu structure the player should be taken back to the first item in the UI/menu structure and vice/versa.”

XAG 114: UI Context Changes

  • The following guideline and corresponding example has been removed from XAG 114 and added to XAG 106: Screen Narration (see XAG 106: Changes for details on minor texts edits that were made upon moving the location of the guideline from XAG 114 to XAG 106)

    • “Ensure that text alternatives (such as narration or tool tips) convey the purpose and operation of UI components”
  • The following new implementation guideline has been added to XAG 114:

    • “Ensure that any tooltips that appear in the UI convey the purpose and operation of the UI components.”

Version 2.0 (2/16/2021)

The following general changes have been made across all XAGs:

  • Language in the document has been improved for clarity

  • “Goal” Statements have been added

  • Overview content has been expanded to include more introductory information for each XAG

  • Scoping Questions have been added

  • Background and Foundational Info sections have been added to: XAG 101, 102, 103, 106

  • Key Areas to Target sections have been added to: XAG 101, 102

  • Example images and video links have been added to many of the individual XAG guidelines

  • The “User Personas” section is now called “Gamer Personas”

  • The “Gamer Personas” section has an additional clarifying statement: “The guidelines in this XAG can help reduce barriers for the following gamers” before the chart.

  • The word “Applies” in the Gamer Personas Section has been changed to an “X”

  • The Tools and Resources section has been expanded to include additional resource links and some Xbox Design Kit Accessibility APIs

XAG 101: Text Display Changes

Changes to the following guidelines for Text Size have been made:

  • Console minimum requirement for 4K changed from 44px to 52px

  • PC/VR minimum requirements for 4k changed from 29px to 36px

Addition of the following new text size guidelines for “VR” experiences:

  • 18px at 1080p

  • 36px at 4k

Addition of the following new text size guidelines for Mobile/xCloud experiences:

  • 18px at 100 DPI

  • 36px at 200 DPI

  • 72px at 400 DPI

  • Scale linearly as DPI increases

  • **Because mobile devices have much higher DPIs than most TVs or PC displays, comparably sized text requires a greater number of pixels.  For context, a 5.5” screen with a 1080p resolution is roughly 400 DPI.

Addition of the Icon & Glyph size heading with the following new guidelines:

  • The height of the icon/glyph itself should meet the minimum default text size defined above for Console/PC/VR or Mobile/xCloud.

  • Icons/Glyphs should also scale with text scaling up to 200% of the minimum default size.

  • The text inside of the Icon/Glyph should meet the following minimum default size:

    • Console

      • 13 px at 1080p (26 px at 1080p with 200% scaling)

      • 18 px at 4k (36 px at 4k with 200% scaling)

    • PC/VR

      • 9 px at 1080p (18 px at 1080p with 200% scaling)

      • 19 px at 4k (38 px at 4k with 200% scaling)

    • Mobile/xCloud

      • 9 px at 100 DPI (18 px at 100 DPI with 200% scaling)

      • 18 px at 200 DPI (36 px at 200 DPI with 200% scaling)

      • 36 px at 400 DPI (72 px at 400 DPI with 200% scaling)

Addition of the Text Scaling heading with the following new guidelines:

  • Large header text should still be able to be visually differentiated from body when text is scaled.

  • Text which scales beyond the visible screen should have a method to be read (scrolling text, text popups, or appropriate abbreviations).

  • It is acceptable to allow text to be scaled down (made smaller) than the default minimums expressed above at the user’s discretion.

Addition of the Text Spacing heading with the following new guideline:

  • Addition of disclaimer for line width: “This requirement should be measured when text is resized to 100%, and does not include spaces in the character count.”

Addition of the Text Case and Alignment heading with the following new guideline:

  • Alignment: Text is left/right aligned based on the player language preference (not centered or fully justified) -or- Players can adjust the text to meet these guidelines. (previously in XAGs but grouped into this XAG subsection)

XAG 102: Contrast

Change in “Large Text” Criteria:

  • On Console large text is now defined as:

    • 52px at 1080p

    • 104px at 4k (instead of 88px)

  • On PC/VR large text is now defined as:

    • 36px at 1080p

    • 72px at 4k (instead of 58 px)

Addition of large text criteria for Mobile/xCloud added:

  • On mobile/xCloud, large text is defined as:

    • 36px at 100 DPI

    • 72px at 200 DPI

    • 144px at 400 DPI

    • Scale linearly as DPI increases

Removal of the following guideline, as all standard size text should be 4.5:1 regardless of platform.

  • (4:1 on Xbox console) guideline for standard-sized text.

Removal of “part of an inactive user interface component” text from the following guideline:

  • Text or visual elements that are part of an inactive user interface component, that are pure decoration, that are not visible to anyone, or that are part of a picture that contains significant other visual content, have no contrast requirement.

Addition of the following new guidelines:

  • Avoid relying on color alone to communicate information. When this is not possible, provide players the option to choose the color of key game elements.

  • Addition of disabled element contrast requirement: “Text on disabled elements should meet a minimum contrast ratio of 2.5:1 against its background.”

XAG 103: Additional Channels for Audio and Visual Cues

No Implementation Guideline Changes

XAG 104: Subtitles and captions

Addition of the following new sub-guideline under “Identify the speaker and use visual spatial indicators to indicate which direction the speaking came from if not immediately clear”:

  • Color can be used to differentiate between who is speaking; however, it should be used in conjunction with another means of portraying information such as text.

Addition of the following new guidelines:

  • Players can adjust the option before starting the game or subtitles are enabled by default. This ensures that players don’t get dropped into a long intro cinematic without being able to follow along.

  • Whenever possible, the title should utilize the caption/subtitle settings configured by the player at the platform level by default.

  • When possible, line breaks should be entered manually (as opposed to automatic wrapping or splitting) to ensure breaks occur at editorially sensible points.

  • Provide a visual simulation of what subtitle and caption presentation options will look like based on the player’s current configuration settings.

    • If possible, this preview should be shown in a realistic game context.

Removal of the following guidelines:

  • Allow different types of caption information (like main character dialogue, background character dialogue, or ambient noises) to be toggled on / off independently of one another.

  • Whenever possible, the caption parameters should be applied based on API values derived from the platform.

  • Font Color: There should be a variety of font color options. The color of the font should be distinguishable from the color of the other text displayed in the UI.

Addition of the bolded text to the following existing guidelines:

  • Background Color: Players should be able to place a solid background behind subtitle and caption text to ensure readability of that text regardless of the game’s background (For example, white text presented over a light desert sand will look virtually invisible to the player). The color of this background should be configurable by the player.

  • Background Opacity: Players should be able to adjust the opacity of the background on a scale from 0 to 100%. This supports those who may require high contrast as well as others who may find an opaque background obtrusive.

XAG 105: Audio customization

Addition of the bolded text to the following existing guideline:

  • Games should provide a method for players to adjust the volume of or mute different types of audio independently from each other, including, but not limited to:

    • Music

    • Voice-over

    • Active Sound Effects (those critical to gameplay like engine noise, gunshots, or footsteps)

    • Background / Ambient Sound Effects (those not critical to gameplay)

    • Narration

    • Voice chat

Wording in the following guideline has been changed from:

  • If not supported by the platform, provide an option that allows the user to convert stereo audio to mono audio sent to both channels.

    To

  • Provide an option that allows the player to convert stereo audio to mono audio sent to both channels.

Addition of the bolded text to the following existing guideline:

  • Players should be able to pause audio events, including cinematics with audio.

Note

Events that play for less than three seconds do not need a method to pause playback.

Note

Real-time, multiplayer gameplay is exempt from this guideline (players do not need to be able to pause a live multiplayer session).

XAG 106: Screen Narration

Addition of the bolded text to the following existing guideline:

  • Interactable UI elements which behave as lists, tabs, radio buttons, check lists, or combo boxes, must enumerate how many child items belong to that element, the type of input the element requires, as well as the current state or value of that input element. As an example, “Worlds, Tab, 1 of 3, selected” or “Music Volume, slider, 52%”)

XAG 107: Input

Addition of the bolded text to the following existing guideline:

  • Players should be given the option to remap all controls within the game itself, regardless of platform-level remapping support that may be present. This includes remapping analog and digital controls, inverting both the X and Y axis individually for each individual control stick, and the escape key on PC games.
    • This should ideally allow the player to assign an action to all potential game inputs, as opposed to simply swapping button assignments.

Addition of the following new guidelines:

  • When a player does re-map a control within the game, the labelling of the new mapping is represented correctly across any hints, tips, tutorials, or controller map schemes.

  • If inputs that require repeated button strokes or prolonged button presses cannot be avoided, provide an alternative input option that is either less physically demanding or allow the player to bypass game events that require the use of using these mechanics, or that part of the game experience altogether.

Removal of the bolded text in the following existing guidelines:

  • Avoid introducing mechanics where a user would be required to repeat or execute multiple keystrokes or button presses within a short period of time unless an alternative is provided to allow users to reduce the input required.

  • Avoid introducing mechanics where a key or button must be held down for an extended period before the input is registered unless an alternative is provided to allow users to avoid such input.

Additional minor clarifying language added to the following existing guideline and its sub-bullets:

  • For content that can be operated with a single pointer (like mouse and cursor or touch screen) the following guidance should be followed:

    • The down-click or down-press on an item does not automatically activate that item; activation occurs on the “up event” which is when the button or press is being released. (for example, when a player hovers their mouse over a button and clicks, the button’s function is not immediately activated as the player presses their mouse button “down”; the button is only activated on the up-click, or as the player is releasing the mouse button. This also applies to touch-screen experiences).

    • A mechanism is available to abort the action before completion. (for example, if a player touches down on the wrong location or item, the player can move their mouse cursor or finger away from that location before the up event or click release. This will cancel the unintended action.)

    • If a mechanism to abort the action is not available, a simple mechanism to undo the action is provided.

    Note

    There may be circumstances where activating the function on the down-event is essential. If activating the function on a down-event is essential, the above guidelines should not be taken into consideration for that specific function. (Essential down-event functions can include experiences like a simulation of playing the piano or shooting a gun where the experience would become very unnatural if activation did not occur until the up-event).

XAG 108: Game Difficulty Options

Wording in the following guideline has been changed from:

  • “The game provides at least 1 additional difficulty setting (if not the primary) where progress is regularly saved (e.g. with checkpoints) and the player can continue after failure without significant loss of progress.”

    To

  • “Include multiple levels of difficulty presets (ideally 4+ covering a wide range of values to ensure that a wide array of gaming experiences and ability levels can choose a difficulty mode that provides their desired level of challenge.)”

XAG 109: Objective Clarity

Addition of the following new guidelines:

  • Provide players with the ability to review tasks and objectives at any given time. Descriptions of tasks and objectives should be clear and straightforward.

  • Provide the ability to revisit the game’s narrative (for example, the ability to replay cutscenes or view a written summary of the story thus far).

  • Save files should be descriptive, ideally containing a screenshot, timestamp, and brief summary of current progress and objectives.

XAG 110: Haptic Feedback

No Implementation Guideline Changes

XAG 111: Audio Descriptions

Changes to the following existing guideline have been made:

  • Full transcripts are available of all full motion videos or in-game scripted cinematic events via an accessible website or other accessible format which include important visual content, such as facial expressions of characters, narratively important actions, non-speech sounds, and dialogue.

    To

  • If the game does not offer audio descriptions, consider providing full transcripts of all full motion videos or in-game scripted cinematic events via an accessible website or other accessible format which include important visual content, such as facial expressions of characters, narratively important actions, non-speech sounds, and dialogue.

This guideline is now only applicable if a game does not offer audio descriptions. Previously guidance suggested providing the following regardless of whether or not audio descriptions were provided.

XAG 112: UI Navigation

Addition of the bolded sub-bullet clarifications to the following existing guidelines:

  • The UI is fully navigable by keyboard and controller digital input alone.

    • Though some games do not support controller input on PC, or keyboard input on console, it is important to ensure that at least the menu UI navigation experience supports digital inputs from both keyboard and controller. (See XAG 107 – Input for example content on digital input.)
  • The UI is fully navigable by multiple inputs (mouse, eye gaze, voice, keyboard, and controller).

    • Some inputs may not be supported by the platform (example: eye gaze on Xbox). If platforms support multiple input options, games should ensure their UIs are navigable by multiple supported inputs as well.

The following existing guidelines have been moved from XAG 113: UI Focus Handling and now appear in XAG 112: UI Navigation:

  • Provide persistent links back to the main menu screen and/or the initial interactive screen on all sub menus. (moved from XAG 113 to here)

  • If focus can be moved to a UI element of an interface, focus can be moved away from that element using the same input (keyboard or mouse) method.

    • If doing so requires any means of navigation that is inconsistent with how the rest of the interface is navigated, the UI should provide clear interaction prompts to indicate how focus can be moved away.

The following guideline has been reworded from:

  • Original: Ensure the visual flow of information matches the programmatic reading order even if the UI is magnified, or the screen resolution is significantly decreased.

    To

  • Updated: If the visual layout of a screen changes (due to UI scaling or resolution change), the order in which elements are navigated should update to maintain consistency with the visual layout.

XAG 113: UI Focus Handling

The following guideline has been removed:

  • A mechanism is available to bypass blocks of content that are repeated on multiple screens.

The following guidelines have been removed from XAG 113: UI Focus Handling and added to XAG 112: UI Navigation

  • Provide persistent links back to the main menu screen and/or the initial interactive screen on all sub menus.

  • All UI elements provide a highly visible focus indicator when they receive focus.

XAG 114: UI Context

Addition of the following new guidelines:

  • Any interaction that will result in shifting focus to another application should be clearly indicated.

  • Large blocks of text should be split into editorially appropriate sections, with descriptive headings.

XAG 115: Error Messages and Destructive Actions

Addition of the following new guideline:

  • Do not require button holds for confirmation of destructive actions or provide alternate options to button holds in these scenarios.

XAG 116: Time Limits

Addition of the following new guidelines:

  • When imposing time limits that control the duration that an important element appears on screen (for example, the amount of seconds a tutorial text window, speaker dialogue, or text-chat/speech-to-text communication window remains visible)
    • The player is able to adjust the number of seconds that these elements appear on-screen before encountering them (such as in a settings menu), up to at least ten times the length of the default limit.

      OR

    • The player can disable duration limits; elements can be dismissed or advanced to the next tutorial window or dialogue text on input.

Addition of the following clarifying sub-bullet point:

Note

Real-time multiplayer events, such as countdown timers in a lobby, are not required to provide an ability to extend or adjust the amount of time until gameplay will start, as this would impact the play of other gamers in the matchmaking session.

XAG 117: Visual Distractions

Removal of the following guideline:

  • A method to control the frequency of updates to on-screen content, in addition to a mechanism to pause, stop or hide any auto-updating content in the game.

XAG 118: Photosensitivity

The guidelines in this section have been completely replaced with the following:

  • Games should not include images/experiences which may cause adverse reactions, such as seizures or migraine episodes, during gameplay.

  • Avoiding the elements defined below will help reduce the chance of adverse reactions:

Luminance Flash Failure

  • Definition:

    • A flash is defined as a change in contrast of over 10% of the darker luminance value

    • The darker luminance value should be below 0.8

  • Failure Criteria:

    • Flashes happen at too high of a frequency (~greater than 3/second)

    • Flashes take up a certain amount of the screen (~20%)

    • Lower intensity flashing can also cause a failure if it is continued for an extended period of time

  • How to Address:

    • Reduce the contrast between the brightest and darkest parts of the flash

    • Reduce the frequency of the flashing

    • Decrease the size of the flashing

Red Flash Failure:

  • Definition:

    • A red flash requires a lower change in luminance than a normal flash.  Specifically, it applies when either extreme of the flash is a saturated red (R/(R+ G + B) >= 0.8).

    • A flash here is defined when the change in the value of (R-G-B)x320 is > 20

  • Failure Criteria:

    • Flashes happen at too high of a frequency (~greater than 3/second)

    • Flashes take up a certain amount of the screen (~20%)

    • Lower intensity flashing can also cause a failure if it is continued for an extended period of time

  • How to Address:

    • Desaturate the red coloring

    • Reduce the contrast between the brightest and darkest parts of the flash

    • Reduce the frequency of the flashing

    • Decrease the size of the flashing

Spatial Pattern Failure

  • Definition:

    • Alternating bands of high contrast define a spatial pattern
  • Failure Criteria:

    • The difference in contrast is greater than 10%

    • The pattern takes up a large part of the screen (~20%)

  • How to Address:

    • Reduce the contrast between the bands

    • Decrease the size of the pattern

XAG 119: STT / TTS

Addition of the following new guideline:

  • Player-Initiated Character Voice: All player-initiated character communication spoken aloud that conveys intent to another player, such as the audio voice-over of a pre-defined message from a chat wheel, should be transcribed into text, in real-time, and displayed locally to a player with speech-to-text chat enabled.

    • It is also important to note that the process of reviewing pre-defined message options is also accessible. Players with screen narration enabled should be able to hear a preview of each message aloud when receiving focus so they know what they are selecting before sending it.

XAG 120: Communication Experiences

The addition of the following sub-guidelines have been added underneath the previously existing “Navigating to communication features, Configuring the communication experience, and Using communication features” guidelines:

  • Navigating to communication features: Any UI path necessary to access, launch, or use communication features should be accessible. For example: 

    • If a player must navigate through the main menu to turn on communications, the game selection and launch UI, and any other subsequent menus on the path to communicating with other players should be usable by a gamer with a disability.

    • Example: A player must navigate through the main menu to get to the multiplayer screen where they can begin the matchmaking process. Once the player has been connected to a lobby, the game loads and then launches into the multiplayer match; at this point, players can begin using communication features. In this example, the experience of navigating through the main menu to the multiplayer screen, navigating the multiplayer screen to choose a specific type of match, navigating subsequent pathways such as adding players to the game, the loading screen between matchmaking and gameplay, and the point in the game in which communication features can be launched and used, all fall under the scope of these requirements.

    • If a player must select or create a character, join a server, or take some other action to reach the experience that uses communication features, the UI for navigating these selections should be accessible.  

  • Configuring the communication experience:  Any UI necessary for enabling or managing settings that impact communication features should be accessible.  For example: 

    • Menus necessary for enabling any communication-related accessibility settings should be usable by a gamer with a disability, such as:

      • Turning on/off text-to-speech chat, speech-to-text chat, and adjusting screen brightness and contrast.
    • Menus necessary to change audio or other settings that impact the communication experience should be usable by a gamer with a disability, such as:

      • Volume settings for player chat, text-to-speech chat, ambient volume, and music.
    • Menus or settings necessary to manage communications-related notifications should be usable by a gamer with a disability, such as:

      • The ability to adjust how long notifications appear on screen

      • The ability to turn on/off certain notifications.

  • Using communication features:  Any UI necessary to participate meaningfully in communications should be useable by a gamer with a disability.  For example: 

    • Sending and accepting friend requests.  

    • Searching for friends and other gamers.   

    • Actions and status of other gamers, such as muting, online or offline status, current availability, and blocking.

    • Opening and closing chat windows, focusing on and using chat window features, selecting and sending pre-defined messages in chat wheels, reporting abuse, and any other steps to send communications. 

XAG 121: Accessible Feature Documentation

Addition of the bolded sub-bullet to the following existing guideline:

XAG 122: Accessible customer support

No implementation guidelines changes.

XAG 123: Advanced Best Practices

Addition of the following new guidelines:

  • Allow the player to customize haptic feedback for specific indicators, as well as set different patterns of haptic vibration to convey information they choose (like 3 quick pulses for low health or 1 long pulse for low ammo).

  • Provide detailed descriptions and warnings of game content that may cause adverse emotional or psychological responses via online customer support sites as well as in-game warnings.

    • This includes content that has the potential to trigger common phobias (like Arachnophobia), symptoms of PTSD, addictions or compulsions (like alcohol consumption, gambling, drug use), or aspects of mental health (for example, suicide, self-harm, or violence against animals and/or children).

    • Consider providing players an option to skip cutscenes or missions that deal with particularly psychologically or emotionally challenging content.

    Note

    The intent of this best practice guideline is not to guide artistic choice or game design, but rather to ensure that players are aware of this content before purchasing or before it appears in the game.

Version 1.0.1 (1/23/2020)

  • All Guidelines updated to add the word "Applies" next to Personas instead of a check mark.
  • XAG 106 has been updated:
    • "All core game UI text (main menu, options, HUD, etc.) should support the screen readers available..." has been updated to include additional examples. It now reads: "All core game UI text (main menu, options, HUD, state changes, players in the game, time-based events, etc.) should support the screen readers available..."
    • A new guideline has been added to clarify the need for repeating critical state information: "Users should be notified via narration of events relevant to user interactions (changes in component states, value, description, etc.). This includes reoccurring / timed-based notifications such as indications of game state (e.g. loading screens, searching for player notifications, count-down timers). In these instances, it is acceptable to read out the state every 7-10 seconds so as not to interfere with other narration / notifications. "

Version 1.0.0 (10/19/2019)

  • Initial version - Following Guidelines Added
Guideline Description
101 Text Display
102 Contrast
103 Additional Channels for Visual and Audio Cues
104 Subtitles and Captions
105 Audio Customization
106 Screen Narration
107 Input
108 Game Difficulty Options
109 Object Clarity
110 Haptic Feedback
111 Audio Description
112 UI Navigation
113 UI Focus Handling
114 UI Context
115 Error Messages and Destructive Actions
116 Time Limits
117 Visual Distractions
118 Photosensitivity
119 Speech-to-Text / Text-to-Speech Chat
120 Communication Experiences
121 Accessible Feature Documentation
122 Accessible Customer Support
123 Advanced Best Practices